LYDIA LINNA, CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Our appreciation of art creates the illusion that aesthetic creations are admirably concrete and reassuringly permanent. We visit museums to see tangible proof that the actions of people who lived centuries ago are remembered. We are awestruck by Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, marvel at Michelangelo’s David, wonder about Chinese terracotta soldiers, and worship in enormous cathedrals with ceilings that are unbelievably high. Why do we appreciate these objects of art? It’s because it seems that these are examples of lasting legacies.
But they’re not. In August, the terrorist group ISIS destroyed a 2000 year old Syrian temple included on a UNESCO World Heritage list, which features important cultural sites. A few years ago, the Taliban blew up ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan. Ceramics in museums are broken, paintings are damaged, and statues are stolen. Despite the protection and reverence surrounding these art objects, they are easily destroyed. Like people, they are impermanent and their futures are uncertain.
I’ve been thinking about the future. More specifically, I’ve been contemplating “legacy.” What will I leave behind when I leave this earth? What will people remember about me? Will they remember my GPA? My kindness? My selfishness? My chocolate chip banana bread? My career accomplishments? My smile? 100 years from now, will anybody remember me at all? Will I have made a difference? And while I’ve raised a lot of questions, the real answer to all of them is the same: I don’t know. Of course, I’d like to think that people will remember me fondly, that they’ll remember my qualities instead of my faults. But my big question is, what will I leave behind? What will my indelible imprint on the world be? Will I have kids? And if so, will I succeed in raising them to be adults who love God and contribute positively to society?
We’re constantly surrounded by grand uncertainties regarding our futures, as well as immediate, everyday concerns. At Berkeley, we often have a difficult time confronting these uncertainties. We like knowing when our Telebears appointment is and exactly what we need to study in order to do well on exams. We try to gain security and peace of mind by controlling these little things. We don’t know what’s coming tomorrow – that’s something that only God knows. But that’s okay. God tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 that He “knows the plans [He] has for us,” and they are plans for us to “prosper,” and not to harm us, plans that give us both “hope and a future.” And it’s not a future behind glass in a museum – it’s a future with Him, forever.
Can you imagine that? Living forever, with God, who loves each and every one of us? Living forever without worries and uncertainties?
I challenge you to think about how you’ll build your legacy. Will it be built on impermanent earthly uncertainties? Or will you build your legacy with Christ the solid Rock as your foundation (Luke 6:48)? Think long term; in fact, think in terms of forever. What can you do that will last forever? Acts 16:31 says to “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” Believe, and your uncertainties vanish because you have confidence in spending forever with God. I urge you to trust in the certainty that God will take care of you. We still might be unsure as to what we want our earthly legacies to be, and what we’ll do with our futures. But trusting in God is the first step to building a forever legacy with Him. As my younger (and wiser, as she likes to remind me) sister says, God’s got your back. I’d like to add that He’s got your front as well. We just need to trust in Him.
Lydia is a third-year majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology and minoring in History of Art, and has worked in a museum where she designed an exhibition on German ceramics. She spent last summer in France, where she fell in love with incredible art and awe-inspiring cathedrals!